Klei Entertainment has released their masterpiece side-scrolling beat-em-up, Shank, on both the PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE. While the genre was never truly abandoned, the content has been thinned-out. Is Shank the man for the job and does he breathe new life into this style of gaming?
Shank is pure, unadulterated fun and its violent and bloody gameplay equals that of the God of War series. While playing the role of Shank, player’s progress through side-scrolling levels filled with various baddies. You’re armed with a couple of knives, a chainsaw, and basic pistols to start, but you’ll pick up bigger and more brutal weapons during your quest. There’s not a huge variation in the tasks that you can perform, but everything flows well and helps to create some very deadly combos.
The game incorporates a mix of basic platform elements and combat techniques as you fight your way to have your revenge on the Butcher, and those above him in an evil corporate ladder. Besides the regular baddies, you’ll fight various oversized freaks that have no trouble bowling over you if you give them the chance. At the end of each level, you’ll have your skills put to the test by the boss, and these battles will always require a pattern of attack. Bosses may be specific characters, or you could be fighting a vehicular boss mixed with regular enemies to make things even more difficult. While controls are quiet fluent, I did experience some issues with double-jumping while moving. It wasn’t a game-breaking issue by any means, but it did make the game a little frustrating during a particular boss battle.
“Shank” also features a separate local co-op campaign which helps to fill some of the backstory or more of a prequel to the single player story. The difficulty is increased in this mode which pushes players to work together to progress, creating a true co-operative experience. It’s not a particularly easy task to beat the co-operative campaign, so you and your friend will need to learn the enemy patterns, and slowly work your way to victory.
Presentation is really the cream of the crop in Shank. The environments in Shank are designed in the same form of graphic novels and each one feels like it has taken inspiration from both Frank Miller’s “Sin City” and the mind of Quentin Tarantino. Each level in “Shank” is exquisite and it really helps you connect to the game and enhance the experience. The soundtrack has also received a lot of much deserved attention. The soundtrack is dynamic and changes while you play, based on what’s happening in the game and it helps to create emotion. Each piece is beautifully composed, the amalgamation with the graphics and gameplay create a truly superb experience.
Like its’ inspirations, “Shank” has ultimately earned its spot amongst the best of the best in the downloadable games category, and it proves itself with a stellar level of quality. The campaign can be completed in 6-8 hours on the normal difficulty, dependent on your skills, but the hard difficulty and co-op campaign are there to back you up and take another 15+ hours of your life away. “Shank” is available on both the PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE Arcade for $14.99 or 1200 :MSPoints: and we encourage you to buy this one if you enjoy a super solid beat-em-up. Not sure? Try the demo out and see how you feel about it!
Blades, guns, and explosives make this a bloody fun experience.
Inspired by graphic novels and more, Shank is a stunningly gorgeous game
A perfect blend of dynamic tunes and spectacular sound effects are sure to please your ears!
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